How To Clean Stoneware And Make It Sparkle Like New

Cleaning stoneware is like giving your kitchen's unsung hero a spa day. It might not ask for much, but it certainly deserves some pampering. Stoneware, a type of ceramic pottery fired at high temperatures, is cherished for its ability to retain heat and cook foods evenly. In order to keep it in top-notch condition, you have to show it some love when washing it after enjoying a big bowl of stew or a decadent plate of dangerously delicious pasta dishes.

As with many things in life, patience is a virtue when it comes to cleaning your stoneware. Before doing anything else, let your stoneware cool down. You don't want to shock it with extreme temperature changes as that could cause cracks or damage. Once it's cool, gently rub off any food remnants with a nylon, silicone, or wooden scraper. The more stubborn bits can be removed with a damp cloth.

Next, fill your sink with warm water and submerge the stoneware. A 15-minute soak should suffice to help soften any remaining gunk. After the soak, use a soft-bristle brush or a nylon scouring pad to lightly scrub away the residue with a mixture of baking soda and water. Then, rinse it away with warm H2O. At all costs, avoid metal brushes or abrasive cleaners. And whatever you do, do not bring soap to the party, especially on the unglazed parts! Why? Waxes and oils in soap can adhere to stoneware, which may affect the flavor of future meals.

Washing stoneware requires plenty of TLC

So, bathtime is over. Now what? Allowing your stoneware to dry thoroughly is key. Once your stoneware is squeaky clean, towel it off and let it air dry. Moisture left behind could lead to unsightly cracks, discoloration, and even mold. The next step is where the magic really happens. Massage a thin layer of vegetable oil, canola oil, or shortening all over the stoneware, even the bottom. This seasoning process helps to maintain the stoneware's non-stick properties and keeps it from absorbing odors. Just as it does when you season a cast iron skillet, the procedure enhances the clay dishes' performance and longevity.

We're not done just yet! Place your clean stoneware in a cold oven and set it to 400 degrees. Let it bake for 30 minutes to an hour, turn off the oven, and let it cool inside for two hours. This process will further enhance the stoneware's non-stick quality and keep it in tip-top shape. Lastly, proper storage is important. When not in use, stack your stoneware with care, using felt or cloth between pieces to prevent scuffing.

Voila! Your stoneware should now look and feel good as new and prepped for even more culinary adventures. By following these simple steps, you'll ensure your trusty pottery serves you well for years to come.